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DirecTV Sees $618M Q4 Profit

El Segundo, Calif. —


reported Wednesday a return to profitability for the fourth quarter on net
income of $618 million, compared with a loss of $32 million for the same period
last year.

Revenue for the quarter increased 11 percent to $6.62 billion
from $5.98 billion a year ago, the company said.

U.S. revenue increased 8 percent to $5.53 billion compared with the
fourth quarter 2009, primarily due to strong average revenue per user growth
and a larger subscriber base.

In the quarter, DirecTV said it added 289,000 net new U.S.
customers, which was more than double its growth from a year ago. The Latin
America unit signed up 378,000 net new customers in the period.

Total U.S. subscribers topped 19.2 million at the end of the
period, up 3.6 percent from a year earlier. Churn, or the rate of subscriber
cancellations, dropped to 1.4 percent in the latest quarter from 1.5 percent a
year earlier. Average revenue per subscriber rose 4.6 percent.

The gains followed moves made by the company last year to focus
on enlisting higher quality customers that would be more likely to take premium
services and less likely add to churn. Some analysts had speculated the action
would slow new subscriber growth, but that was not the case.